Statistical evidence is the kind of data people tend to look for first when trying to prove a point. That’s not surprising when you consider how prevalent it is in today’s society. Remember those McDonald’s signs that said “Over 1 billion served”? How about those Trident chewing gum commercials that say “4 out of 5 dentists recommend chewing sugarless gum”? Every time you use numbers to support a main point, you’re relying on statistical evidence to carry your argument.
The underlying problem is that universities around the world press their staff to write whether or not they have anything to say. This amounts to pressure to cut corners, to value quantity rather than quality, to exaggerate the consequences of their work and, occasionally, to cheat. People are under such pressure to produce papers that they have neither the time nor the motivation to learn about statistics, or to replicate experiments. Until something is done about these perverse incentives, biomedical science will be distrusted by the public, and rightly so. Senior scientists, vice-chancellors and politicians have set a very bad example to young researchers. As the zoologist Peter Lawrence at the University of Cambridge put it in 2007:
Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield Counties are in western Connecticut. Large business and industrial parks are scattered throughout the area, though mostly contained within Fairfield County. The three counties (and Connecticut in general) are known for affluence. Geographically, the areas are flat along the coast with low hills eventually giving way to larger hills such as The Berkshires further inland, to the Massachusetts border. Most of the largest cities in the state are located within New Haven County (home to Yale University ) and Fairfield County.